S.D. special ed panel wants more specific data

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The Legislature’s committee studying special education needs more information about costs from local school districts and the South Dakota Department of Education, its chair said Monday.

Representative Nancy Rasmussen, a Hurley Republican, presented the group’s final report to the Legislature’s Executive Board.

She said the panel wants data on out-of-district placements, for example, before recommendations could be offered.

Senator Jim Bolin, a Canton Republican who is vice chair, said South Dakota wasn’t unique in facing a funding shortfall. Bolin said another challenge is keeping and recruiting staff.

“It is a nationwide issue that will confront us in the days and weeks ahead,” Bolin said.

Senator Jim White, a Huron Republican, said one reason costs rose was the decision to make autism eligible.

The 2019 Legislature passed a measure establishing the special committee and required it to report before the start of the 2020 session that opens January 14.

Rasmussen said every idea the committee received would cost money. “There are so many avenues of need,” she said.

Approximately one student of every five in South Dakota have dyslexia, according to Rasmussen. The learning disorder affects areas of the brain that process what is heard or seen

She suggested dyslexia should be a big concern because South Dakota’s overall reading performance has been “so low.”  

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